On a Whim, Lebanese Singer Seeks MP Seat
By: Zeina Haddad
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012
Lebanese singer Carol Saqr has put herself forward as a candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
She explained that her decision came as a result of a single incident. A few days ago, Saqr was watching a television program, which she prefers not to name, where guests discuss the country’s current political issues. After a minute, she told Al-Akhbar, she couldn’t bear to watch any longer. She called the program and vented on air, rejecting the ruling political elite regardless of their convictions or leanings.
Saqr is fed up with the political situation in this country.
“From childhood, I have watched a certain few people discuss politics, and so far nothing has changed. The same hatred remains, but the enmity has increased,” she said. “Yet the same promises are still being made. The same people stay in position, they don’t change.”
On air, Saqr did not attack one political side to the benefit of the other. She maintained that everyone was responsible for the current social and economic situation. It seems, however, that what she had to say was not to the liking of the program’s guests, and they began condemning her.
Saqr defended herself by insisting that she does not support a particular political side; she is just defending the deprived who receive help from nobody.
When asked which side she prefers, she fell silent for a moment then replied: “I am on the side of the people. I am the majority that has been silent so far, but it is time for us to shout out loud and for our voices to be heard. Unfortunately, the homes of Gibran Khalil Gibran, Fakhreddin, and St. Rafqa are falling apart. People here are eating out of garbage bins because of the tough economic and social conditions.”
Saqr invited all politicians to abandon their seats so that new, hopeful, faces can replace them. Faces that dream of a new Lebanon. Faces that are fed up with what is going on around them. She wishes that both the March 8 and 14 alliances would come together to form the number 22 – the date of Independence day.
Although she is set on joining the Lebanese parliament, she still does not know for which district to put her name down. She was born in the Ayn Ibl area in the South and lives in Keserwan. However, she assured us that this matter will be resolved very soon after consultations with specialists.
Saqr expects to win in the coming elections. She believes that when voters are persuaded that she is taking this step with enthusiasm and faith, they will vote for her. The singer does not feel nervous because, as she explains, she was born into a political household. She tells how her father, the founder of the far-right Guardians of the Cedars Etienne Saqr, refused to receive any politicians in his home in the presence of his children. This is why all the children became artists and shied away from the political game.
Her father did not immediately support his daughter, she told us. “That [political] world only brought us misfortune,” he said. Carol explained to him that it was “the spirit in which she was raised that has compelled her to seek a parliamentary seat.” Her father then replied, “You are your father’s daughter!”
At this point, she shied away from discussing her father’s past. He was accused of being an Israeli agent and escaped to Cyprus after he was sentenced to death. She has been known to defend him in several previous interviews.
Saqr does not seem to have a clear political program like other candidates. Of course, we would not expect her to include resistance against Israel in her program. However, she seems to rely on broad, generic slogans, noting that her priorities are to “help the poor who cannot find food, and parents who cannot pay their children’s school fees.” She hopes that, “Every Lebanese would take up the pen as their slogan, because ignorance is the enemy of progress.” These may be hopeful sayings, but Saqr has little to show for them.
Her musician husband Hadi Sharara was the first to give Saqr support, yet even he feels that it is a strange step for her. He wonders what she is doing and whether she is sure of it. Saqr, meanwhile, calls on all other artists to join her new program and come together for Lebanon’s future.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.